2017 Locus Recommended Reading List Is Out

The 2017 Locus Recommended Reading List from the magazine’s February issue has been posted by Locus Online.

The list is a consensus by Locus editors, reviewers, and other professionals — editor-in-chief Liza Groen Trombi; reviews editor Jonathan Strahan; reviewers Liz Bourke, Carolyn Cushman, Paul Di Filippo, Gardner Dozois, Stefan Dziemanowicz, Amy Goldschlager, Paula Guran, Rich Horton, John Langan, Russell Letson, Adrienne Martini, Colleen Mondor, Tim Pratt, Tom Whitmore, and Gary K. Wolfe; Bob Blough; online editor Mark R. Kelly; Ysabeau Wilce; critics Paul Kincaid, Cheryl Morgan, and Graham Sleight. The young-adult list group wrapped in Laurel Amberdine, Gwenda Bond, Barry Goldblatt, Justina Ireland, and Justine Larbalestier. Art books were compiled with help from Arnie Fenner, Karen Haber, and Locus design editor Francesca Myman. Short fiction recommendations included editors and reviewers John Joseph Adams, Ellen Datlow, Liz Grzyb, Faren Miller, Charles Payseur, Nisi Shawl, and A.C. Wise.

On the list are —

  • 28 SF novels, 21 fantasy novels, 14 horror novels, 22 YA books, 23 first novels;
  • 25 collections, 11 original anthologies, 8 reprint/year’s best anthologies;
  • 14 nonfiction books, 16 art books
  • 26 novellas
  • 42 novelettes
  • 55 short stories

While the number of recommendations has expanded to recognize the field’s outburst of novellas – 26 this year versus 11 last year – and the novelette recommendations have increased by around 25%, there are just 55 short stories on the list versus 78 last year.

None of the recommended books is self-published (one self-published work made the 2016 list, an art book, and the 2015 list had three.) There is one self-published short story on the 2017 list, but it was also published by a magazine later in the year.

Baen placed one book on the 2017 list, Tim Powers’ collection Down and Out in Purgatory. (Baen had two books on the 2016 list, one in 2015, and zero in 2013 and 2014.)

The Locus Poll & Survey will soon open for online voting and will decide the winners of the Locus Awards.

[Thanks to Mark Hepworth and Cat Eldridge for the story.]

19 thoughts on “2017 Locus Recommended Reading List Is Out

  1. Out of the pieces on this list, I read and liked:
    The Bear and the Nightingale, Katherine Arden (Del Rey)
    City of Miracles, Robert Jackson Bennett (Broadway; Jo Fletcher)
    Dreadnought, April Daniels (Diversion)
    Sovereign, April Daniels (Diversion)
    The Ruin of Angels, Max Gladstone (Tor.com Publishing)
    A Skinful of Shadows, Frances Hardinge (Macmillan; Amulet)
    An Unkindness of Magicians, Kat Howard (Saga)
    The Stars Are Legion, Kameron Hurley (Saga; Angry Robot UK)
    The Stone Sky, N.K. Jemisin (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
    Provenance, Ann Leckie (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
    Creatures of Will and Temper, Molly Tanzer (John Joseph Adams)
    Amatka, Karin Tidbeck (Vintage)
    The Refrigerator Monologues, Catherynne M. Valente (Saga)
    All Systems Red, Martha Wells, (Tor.com Publishing)

    I read and kind of thought was meh:
    Before the Devil Breaks You, Libba Bray (Little, Brown; Atom UK)
    Jane, Unlimited, Kristin Cashore (Kathy Dawson)
    The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter, Theodora Goss (Saga)
    Wintersong, S. Jae-Jones (Dunne; Titan UK)
    Proof of Concept, Gwyneth Jones (Tor.com Publishing)
    Passing Strange, Ellen Klages (Tor.com Publishing)
    Shattered Minds, Laura Lam (Tor; Macmillan)
    Raven Stratagem, Yoon Ha Lee (Solaris US; Solaris UK)
    Blackthorne, Stina Leicht (Saga)
    Down Among the Sticks and Bones, Seanan McGuire (Tor.com Publishing)
    And Then There Were (N-One), Sarah Pinsker (Uncanny 3-4/17)
    The Collapsing Empire, John Scalzi (Tor US; Tor UK)

    I’ve been planning to read:
    The Guns Above, Robyn Bennis (Tor)
    The City of Brass, S.A. Chakraborty (Harper Voyager US)
    Ka: Dar Oakley in the Ruin of Ymr, John Crowley (Saga)
    Winter Tide, Ruthanna Emrys (Tor.com Publishing)
    River of Teeth, Sarah Gailey (Tor.com Publishing)
    Spoonbenders, Daryl Gregory (Knopf; riverrun)
    The River Bank, Kij Johnson (Small Beer)
    Agents of Dreamland, Caitlín R. Kiernan (Tor.com Publishing)
    Jade City, Fonda Lee (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
    Her Body and Other Parties, Carmen Maria Machado (Graywolf)
    The Last Good Man, Linda Nagata (Mythic Island)
    Autonomous, Annalee Newitz (Tor; Orbit UK 2018)
    Seven Surrenders, Ada Palmer (Tor; Head of Zeus)
    Fair Rebel, Steph Swainston (Gollancz)
    Borne, Jeff VanderMeer (MCD; HarperCollins Canada; Fourth Estate)
    Bannerless, Carrie Vaughn (John Joseph Adams)
    Now I Rise, Kiersten White (Delacorte; Corgi)
    Horizon, Fran Wilde (Tor)

  2. I finished The Powers collection recently; I thought it was excellent and found the why-I-wrote-this epilogs fascinating. However, I’d suggest not reading it all at once; I don’t think they’re all horror stories (contra Drake’s preface), but moods and themes tend to reappear.

    OTOH, I thought Amatka was a stale rehashing of 50-year-old ground — not impenetrable like the Southern Reach trilogy, just horribly cliched. It takes all kinds….

  3. Just out of curiosity, why are a single publisher’s numbers called out for presentation/analysis in this piece? Aren’t there a number of other publishers who only have single works represented?

  4. @Christopher Rowe

    Just out of curiosity, why are a single publisher’s numbers called out for presentation/analysis in this piece? Aren’t there a number of other publishers who only have single works represented?

    There have been accusations in the past that Locus was prejudiced against Baen and would never recommend anything from them.

  5. Christopher Rowe: Just out of curiosity, why are a single publisher’s numbers called out for presentation/analysis in this piece?

    It all goes back to the beginning of the Puppies. Unlike most of their other issues, I, too, wondered why one of sff’s leading publishers seemed to get no love from the Locus Recommended Reading List. So either that’s out of balance, or it’s true that Baen consistently doesn’t reach the level of excellence that warrants recognition by Locus. Either way, that’s why I pick up that number.

  6. Lots of books I enjoyed on this list, especially the first novel category!

    I really enjoyed Amatka, although I don’t think I have read the books from 50 years ago which it rehashes…

  7. I’m surprised at listing Paul Cornell’s Chalk as YA. It was pretty clearly a horror novel.

    Read and Loved:
    The Stone Sky, N.K. Jemisin (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
    The City of Brass, S.A. Chakraborty (Harper Voyager US)
    The Tiger’s Daughter, K Arsenault Rivera (Tor)
    All Systems Red, Martha Wells, (Tor.com Publishing)

    Read:
    Jane, Unlimited, Kristin Cashore (Kathy Dawson)
    Chalk, Paul Cornell (Tor.com Publishing)

    Read and actively disliked:
    The Bear and the Nightingale, Katherine Arden (Del Rey)
    Lincoln in the Bardo, George Saunders (Random House; Bloomsbury)

    On my list to read before Hugo voting ends:
    Jade City, Fonda Lee (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
    The Prey of Gods, Nicky Drayden (Harper Voyager US)
    Winter Tide, Ruthanna Emrys (Tor.com Publishing)
    Barbary Station, R.E. Stearns (Saga)
    Binti: Home, Nnedi Okorafor (Tor.com Publishing)
    The Black Tides of Heaven, JY Yang (Tor.com Publishing)
    The Red Threads of Fortune, JY Yang (Tor.com Publishing)

  8. I still don’t know how Baen ended up with the Powers; they get Bujold because Baen took a chance on a new author, but Powers has a long history elsewhere and his work is … unusual … for them. Maybe Drake encouraged them to take a chance?

  9. Interesting that EXTRASOLAR anthology gets recommended, but no story from it. Mine in there is in the Clarke & the Best Hard SF anthos. Maybe came too late in year to get read by many?–& published in UK, too.
    Pleasant to see THE BERLIN PROJECT recommended, though was not reviewed in the print LOCUS. Went into a second hardcover printing, too.
    The field is so dispersed now, much gets missed in the incessant flood. For me, though I get most books and all magazines, reading time is scarce able to master the swirling genre waters.

  10. Gregory Benford: Pleasant to see THE BERLIN PROJECT recommended, though was not reviewed in the print LOCUS. Went into a second hardcover printing, too.

    I was once researching an idea I had for a post about Locus, and dropped it after I realized they aren’t nearly all-encompassing in their book review coverage as I initially assumed. I could hardly blame them for missing some particular favorite of mine. But not covering a new Benford novel is rather unexpected even so.

  11. Chip Hitchcock

    I still don’t know how Baen ended up with the Powers; they get Bujold because Baen took a chance on a new author, but Powers has a long history elsewhere and his work is … unusual … for them. Maybe Drake encouraged them to take a chance?

    Not sure and didn’t even realize that this book had been Baen published, but as a fan I’m glad he has a publisher and hope they’re working well for him.

    Spoonbenders in Fantasy seems weird to me. I’ve read 15 on the list and I loved all of the ones I read, so many more to look forward to as well. I really gotta take some time to catch up on some short stories.

    Interesting to see the Novellas and Novelettes have swelled in number. I wonder if there’s an increased demand for less novel length fiction. I certainly wouldn’t mind a few shorter things to read after Oathbringer.

  12. Has anyone here ever read Powers’s first novel, The Skies Discrowned, published in 1976 in the (in)famous Laser Books line? I’ve heard Powers talk about the publishing experience, but not the book itself, which I’ve only seen described (as a “science fiction adventure”).

  13. Christopher Rowe

    Has anyone here ever read Powers’s first novel, The Skies Discrowned, published in 1976 in the (in)famous Laser Books line? I’ve heard Powers talk about the publishing experience, but not the book itself, which I’ve only seen described (as a “science fiction adventure”).

    I own it twice because I didn’t realize it was also republished later as Forsake The Sky. One of them is even signed, but I bought it from a second hand book store so it’s addressed to someone I’ve never met.

    It’s sort of a space swashbuckler, where it’s on a different planet and there’s some sci-fi in there but the colony itself is pretty low tech. I like it, but it’s still kind of a rough first work and sort of just follows some tropes of those types of books instead of the amazing/odd stories he would go on to tell later. I’ll see if I can get a cat to sleep on one of them.

  14. I haven’t read any of the SF recs, but 6 are on my list to read, along with 4 of the fantasy recs and 6-7 of the first novels. I have read 2 of the fantasy recs, 4 of the novellas, 1 novelette, and 1 short story. Wow, I’m doing horribly in the “who’s read the most Locus recs” competition! 😉

    @Various re. Baen: Locus staff and reviewers don’t read everything, so it’s also possible they just don’t read enough Baen for more than the occasional item to get a rec.

    @Muccamukk: I couldn’t get into CHALK, but yeah, it didn’t seem like YA – just horror (and I thought it was marketed in the horror direction, not in the YA direction). But it’s far from the first time Locus classified stuff oddly.

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